More measurement, fewer cowboys: CTV must learn from past ad tech eras

Consumer privacy, transparency and accurate measurement must be at the heart of any personalised, programmatic CTV activity as the technology advances further.

Christopher Kleinschmidt, Head of EU platform sales, Samsung Ads Europe, explores the lessons to be learned from the digital advertising mistakes of the past and explains how to prevent such errors from taking root as programmatic CTV continues to evolve.

There were more than 50 years between the first TV advert in 1941 and the launch of the first digital banner advert in 1994; but there was more than just time that separated the two in the decades since. Remaining in relatively separate lanes, digital advertising went on to create new ad formats, new ways of measurement and new ways of attribution. And TV advertising remained, well, relatively the same.

However, in the past few years, advancements in technology and changes in how we use our TVs have brought the two together. We now use our Smart TVs to access TV over the internet – and one particular feature this has enabled is programmatic CTV advertising.

As the automated approach to buying and delivering targeted TV advertising, programmatic CTV opens up the scale and efficiency of programmatic within a completely brand-safe and premium environment. 

But those of us who remember the early years of programmatic within display will be well aware of the issues that dogged the space, and to some extent still do. Given that, we have the opportunity to learn from those mistakes and prevent them from rooting in while programmatic CTV is growing. As the evolution continues, it’s important to ensure that consumer privacy protection, transparency and accurate measurement sit at the heart of any activity.

Programmatic growing pains 

In previous programmatic eras, delivering personalised experiences to the consumer and achieving impressive click-through rates for the advertisers was the name of the game. Now, programmatic CTV buyers are looking for both scale and third-party tracking to prove the ROI of the big screen but have to balance this with the increased calls from consumers and industry bodies for sensible and transparent use of data. 

As the third-party cookie is being deprecated in digital media, CTV is perfectly positioned as a cookieless solution, but the broad lack of user consent has been a red herring for the industry. This doesn’t have to be the case, however. It’s more than possible to introduce standards at the earliest stage to position the user – from both an experience and data-safe perspective – at the centre of our tech developments. At Samsung, we introduced our OneTrust industry-recognised Consent Management Platform (CMP), meaning that any audience measurement is fully permissioned.  Adopting the standards of TCF 2.0 – through our CMP we have acted before regulation steps in – a standard that should be mandatory across the CTV ecosystem.

Measurement is key 

The great thing about putting privacy at the heart of any programmatic advertising is that it gives advertisers access to better, more accurate measurement metrics through user opt-in data gathering. Our CMP, for example, provides the ability for our advertisers to leverage TCF 2.0 approved vendors on their campaigns to track items like viewability, ROI, demo verification, incrementality and more. This delivers the metrics that matter to effectiveness-focused advertisers who wish to leverage the brand-building power of TV. As questions about measurement abound, we would all do well to continue to tie those questions to ensuring metrics are delivered in a compliant way.

Enticing other spenders

With the improved measurement that a CMP can provide, CTV can make itself a more attractive place for advertising spend, especially from those that are digital-first or even smaller brands who have historically been elbowed out by bigger players who could afford the steep upfronts of traditional TV buys.

Take for instance DTC (direct to consumer) brands that have built their success from the ground up using only search and social. These brands intrinsically understand the power of digital, and are fundamentally driven by proving ROI on every piece of media spend. For these ‘performance-focused’ marketers, CTV is the perfect place for them to explore new opportunities for scale. The improved measurement and addressability of CTV is directly leading to the diversification of brands using the medium – it’s no longer the exclusive ‘club’ it once was: everyone can join in.

TV’s got a new sparkle

With the introduction of programmatic CTV, the TV advertising market has a new and shiny offering which, when used efficiently and in a consented way, caters to the challenges of the evolving TV environment. As audiences find their entertainment in more places than ever, advertisers are subsequently having to work harder to engage with these viewers. Programmatic CTV gives advertisers a scalable solution to reach viewers in a highly premium environment. 

As the programmatic CTV market continues to embark on an ambitious trajectory of scale, ensuring we are fully communicating and prioritising initiatives which reflect the importance of consented data will be key. Through embracing these standards, the CTV industry can get ahead of the privacy issue; acting now, before we are forced to, retrospectively – which has so often been the case in other ad-tech eras.

By Christopher Kleinschmidt

Head of EU platform sales

Samsung Ads Europe